After hearing both reports by Mr. Eliasson and by Mr. Guéhenno, we are quite worried by the situation developing in Darfur. The humanitarian situation on the ground is very serious. Access for humanitarian workers is not good and is deteriorating. Peace talks are not going very well, even if we still can have some hope,. Of course we will give more time to Mr. Eliasson, who was expressing some hopes after the good start in Juba and Syrte. The description by Mr. Guéhenno was particularly serious on the problems to get the hybrid force deployed on the ground. There are problems of capacities, some enabling contingents are still missing. But there are also questions by the Government of Sudan on each and every step that DPKO is trying to achieve towards this deployment. Mr. Guéhenno’s conclusion was very clear : we could have a situation where we would be facing the dilemma of having to deploy in early January a force which would not be able to operate efficiently and to fulfil its mandate of protection of civilians in distress, or to stop the operation. This is a very serious moment. And my feeling is that every member State of the Council is expressing very serious preoccupations. We have heard the explanation by the Ambassador of Sudan. He confirmed the commitment of the Government, to help and cooperate towards the implementation of the force ; We hope that they will stand by their word, for once, and that they will do what is necessary, so that the force can be deployed on the ground. But, really, this is a very critical moment.
You just painted a very serious picture of the situation ?
This is the picture that was brought to us in the Council.
And the inability of the various United Nations agencies to function there, completely, in your opinion, what could it be ?
I said the situation was deteriorating, not that they could not operate. I said that there are some problems with access, there were some problems with enabling the military force to deploy and this is exactly what was in the report of the Secretary general of the UN.
Basically, all what you said is : nothing is working at this point of time.
I did not say that nothing was working, I said that everything was working to slow and we could be facing a moment where it would not be efficient. I remind you that the transfer of authority of the force is due on the 1st of January, so the UN should be in a position to deploy, along with the AU, the new hybrid force. So, the problem is that for the moment, both organizations are not in the condition to deploy an effective force which would be able to perform. This is very very worrying.
You’re painting a picture of a pending disaster. What part of the scenario is the responsibility of the government of Sudan not fulfilling ?
We have still time if the government of Sudan, as the ambassador said, plays by the rules, sticks to its commitment, delivers all the authorizations which are needed, and stops procrastination. Then we will still have time to deploy the force. The DPKO will still be missing some capabilities, but at least we could start with a very serious force with a robust mandate.
It is more than just procrastination on there part ?
We hope it is only procrastination. But is there certain things that you would expect from them at this point that they did not do ?
They should negotiate very fast the agreement with the UN, all the technical arrangements for the UN to be able to deploy and to accept all the contingents, including non-Africans, that the African Union has already accepted and that the Government of Sudan is still not accepting yet.